The Strength Switch – a review & reflections

Self-I truly believe everyone can benefit tremendously from this book. I say this not only because I enjoyed it immensely and finished it in record time, but more importantly because it addresses one of the most common pitfalls, the negativity bias, and teaches us how to identify and use strengths in our lives and the lives of those around us. The books is written for parents and expounds on the principals and application of strength based parenting, but its teachings are universally applicable and will benefit everyone.

I have always been a critical person, which has been a good thing when it comes to intellectual endeavors but not so great when it comes to other people. Even in my closest relationships, I can be critical from time to time. Reading the book taught me that the negative bias, the tendency to focus and emphasize on the negative over the positive, is what our brains have evolved to do. Thousands of years ago, the negative bias helped us survive, by helping us quickly identify dangers and stay out of harms way. While the negative bias helped us survive, it also precludes us from thriving in the modern world.

What the strength switch teaches is how we we can be more effective in our lives and relationships by leading with our strengths. This begins with identifying strengths in ourselves and others, and continues to communicating and encouraging the use of these strengths with those around us, to solving problems and ultimately making our families, communities, and the world a better place by leading and fostering strength base lives.

The strength based approach is not putting on a pair of rosy colored glasses and only seeing the good, but instead it brings awareness to the good that was always there — the strengths that we have always had but were blinded to or took for granted. The strength based approach teaches us to see a more accurate version of ourselves and everyone else by shifting the focus away from the negative and properly recognizing our strengths.

The strength based approach is about recognition, appreciation, and encouragement. Instead of trying to fix or correct every flaw and weakness, the strength based approach is about recognizing the existing strengths in each person, appreciating how these strengths have already contributed to various areas of the individuals lives, and encouraging further application and development of these strengths to overcome challenges and even weaknesses.

My goal is to begin implementing the strength based approach today, starting with myself, my relationships, and in my daily encounters. I will regularly review the list of strengths provided by the Strength Switch Website to become familiar with the strength vocabulary. I will look for and identify strengths in myself and those around me, and seek opportunities to communicate and leverage them to their fullest potential. I will look for ways to engage my own and others’ core strengths more, to identify and rectify the underuse and overuse of my strengths, and to utilize my strengths to address my weaknesses. My short term goal is to use the strength based approach to enhance my own personal development and improve my relationship with others. Ultimately, I hope to create a ripple effect and bring the benefits of strength based approach to as many lives as possible.

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